Netflix‘s new movie Tall Girl stirred a bit of a backlash on social media when its trailer dropped last month.

The feature tells the story of a tall high school girl who has never fit it in, though starts to find the confidence to stand above the haters.

After the trailer debuted, people decided to pile on on social media – despite the fact that no-one had actually seen the movie and were judging it solely on a concept and a trailer.

Netflix

Much of the ire centred on its apparent depiction of the ‘tall discrimination’ of a white girl when real systematic racism exists.

The movie’s director Nzingha Stewart – who is also African-American – has now responded to the backlash, hitting back at the knee-jerk reaction.

“I think if something doesn’t offend you outright — it’s not something that is coming after you or someone you love — then let it live,” she told Black Girl Nerds. “A movie doesn’t have to be about you or for you to be of artistic value in the world.

Nzingha Stewart
JC OliveraGetty Images

“Just don’t have a knee-jerk reaction, ‘Well, is that enough oppression that constitutes a movie?’ If it’s not offending you, let it live. Maybe that story is valuable to somebody else. We miss so much by being so quick to jump on board with whatever the critique might be.

“The fact that there was all this discussion and no one has seen the movie yet? That kind of tells you upfront that people haven’t given themselves a chance to enjoy before just seeing it. Slow down and give yourself a chance to enjoy something.”

The movie is also Stewart’s feature directorial debut, having previously worked on Grey’s Anatomy and music videos for the likes of Jay-Z and Common over the past two decades.

Tall Girl movie on Netflix
Netflix

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She has previously spoken about the struggles of African-American directors to get big breaks in the industry, telling Variety last year: “I knew what I had to do to get directing opportunities was write.

“And I say that because I think about every major director who’s African-American — from Ava [DuVernay] to Spike Lee to Ryan Coogler, all of them — they had to write their first movies because wasn’t nobody trying to hire them.”

Tall Girl is released on Netflix on September 13.


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